Lamar Odom & The Dallas Mavericks Part Ways

VIA ESPN

By Marc Stein
ESPN.com

Lamar Odom’s brief and bumpy ride with the Dallas Mavericks has come to an abrupt end.

The Mavericks and Odom spent Easter Sunday working out a parting, according to sources close to the situation, that frees the struggling Odom to leave the team immediately without actually being released.

Odom I’m sorry that things didn’t work out better for both of us, but I wish the Mavs’ organization, my teammates and Dallas fans nothing but continued success in the defense of their championship.
” — Lamar Odom

“The Mavericks and I have mutually agreed that it’s in the best interest of both parties for me to step away from the team,” Odom said in a statement to ESPN.com. “I’m sorry that things didn’t work out better for both of us, but I wish the Mavs’ organization, my teammates and Dallas fans nothing but continued success in the defense of their championship.”

Sources said Monday that Odom’s departure will be immediate and that the Mavericks intend to simply list him as inactive for the rest of the season instead of outright releasing him, leaving open the possibility that they could still trade him after the season in conjunction with the draft. Any team that has Odom on its roster as of June 29 must buy him out by that date for $2.4 million or otherwise accept responsibility for the full $8.2 million that Odom is scheduled to earn in 2012-13.

Even if either side had pushed for a formal release, there is little upside to taking that step now with Odom ineligible to play in the playoffs with another team because he wasn’t waived before the March 23 deadline. One source close to the 32-year-old told ESPN.com that the decision sets Odom up to “clear his head and start getting ready for next season” after his career-low numbers and minutes continued to dip as the season wore on.

Odom will not be at practice Monday, sources said, after he was given just four first-quarter minutes of playing time Saturday night in Memphis, accounting for the low point of a consistently rocky season in Dallas following his trade in December from the Los Angeles Lakers.

Odom’s representatives pushed for the trade to Dallas after it became known that the Lakers had agreed to trade Odom to the league-owned New Orleans Hornets as part of a Chris Paul blockbuster that was ultimately vetoed by NBA commissioner David Stern in his role as the Hornets’ lead decision-maker.

Throughout Odom’s season-long struggles to adapt to his new surroundings, Mavs officials and players have repeatedly expressed confidence that the former Laker could still be a playoff X-factor, pointing to the team’s 0-7 record without him as evidence that his presence — if only for the minute relief Odom gives star forward Dirk Nowitzki — has helped the team on some level.

But exasperation with Odom’s languid play reached an apparent breaking point in Memphis. Both coach Rick Carlisle and Nowitzki refused to discuss the Odom situation after Dallas’ 94-89 defeat to the Grizzlies.

“No Lamar questions tonight,” Carlisle told reporters.

Lamar Odom on ESPNDallas.com

The reality show that is Lamar Odom has ended in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Nowitzki, meanwhile, fielded questions for four minutes about his own struggles in the Memphis defeat — including two late turnovers — but ended the interview when asked about Odom.

“I’m done talking about that,” Nowitzki said.

Associates of the veteran forward, meanwhile, have long maintained privately that his lack of a clear-cut role with the Mavericks — where minutes behind Nowitzki are limited — complicated the transition. Lakers star Kobe Bryant said as much after a game in Dallas recently, describing himself as “pleasantly surprised” that the Odom deal wasn’t coming back to haunt his team.

“It’s tough,” Bryant said. “He comes to a team that’s pretty much set, you know what I mean? So it’s hard for him to find his niche. The fans, they don’t really understand what he does or how he can do it, you know what I mean?

“I hope they don’t unlock that mystery. I know. I know how to use him and to use his skill set and this, that and the other. But with this team, the roster that they had being pretty much set, it’s tough for him to be able to find his groove here.”

After declining to offer defensive anchor Tyson Chandler more than a one-year deal in the offseason to preserve future salary-cap flexibility, even after Chandler’s pivotal role in the Mavericks’ championship breakthrough last season, Dallas used the resulting trade exception created by Chandler’s sign-and-trade move to the New York Knicks to bring Odom in with the idea that the parties could help each other greatly on a one-season basis.

Dallas was initially seen as an ideal destination for Odom to start over after the jolt of being discarded by the Lakers, but he began the season well short of peak condition after a tumultuous summer on a personal level and never quite caught up.

Left reeling by the July murder of his 24-year-old cousin and a fatal car accident days later that killed a teen pedestrian after the car he was riding in as a passenger collided with a motorcycle, Odom did almost no basketball training during the five-month lockout. The contrast in preparation to his final season with the Lakers was stark; Odom won NBA Sixth Man Award honors in 2010-11 after spending the bulk of the summer of 2010 with Team USA, often playing as a center for a squad that won the FIBA World Championships in Turkey.

Odom leaves the Mavericks averaging just 6.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in 20.5 minutes per game while shooting 35.2 percent from the field and 25.2 percent on 3-pointers, all career lows by some distance.

Unlike a leave Odom was granted just before the All-Star break, there are no plans to bring him back to the team this time, sources said.

~Signing Off~
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ESPN Fires Employee Responsible For Offensive Jeremy Lin Headline, Suspends Another

VIA SportingNews

ESPN announced Sunday disciplinary action imposed on three employees for three separate incidents of racial-insensitivity related to the company’s coverage of New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin.

The employee responsible for the “Chink in the Armor” headline that ran on ESPN.com’s mobile site after the Knicks lost the Hornets on Friday night has been fired. New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin has been the subject of an incredible amount of coverage. (AP Photo)

ESPN on Saturday apologized for that headline, plus a similar reference made last week by ESPNews anchor Max Bretos. Bretos, who uttered the phrase “chink in the armor,” perhaps with no ill-intent, while interviewing Knicks television analyst Walt Frazier, has been suspended for 30 days, ESPN announced.

Bretos apologized via Twitter and said he did not mean to offend anyone.

“Wanted 2 apologize 2 all those I have upset. Not done with any racial reference. Despite intention,phrase was inappropriate in this context,” Bretos tweeted.

“My wife is Asian, would never intentionally say anything to disrespect her and that community,” he added.

ESPN said it has been made aware of a third incident, which occurred on ESPN Radio, but the radio commentator is not an ESPN employee.

“We again apologize, especially to Mr. Lin,” ESPN’s statement says. “His accomplishments are a source of great pride to the Asian-American community, including the Asian-American employees at ESPN. Through self-examination, improved editorial practices and controls, and response to constructive criticism, we will be better in the future.”

On Sunday, Lin said he had moved on. “ESPN had apologized, and I don’t think it was on purpose or whatever,” Lin said.

“At the same time, they apologized and I don’t care anymore. I have to learn to forgive and I don’t even think that was intentional.”

Lin also used his postgame press conference to ask members of the media back in Taiwan, where his grandmother and some of his other relatives live, to respect their privacy.

“One special request I have is for the media back in Taiwan to kind of give them their space, because they can’t even go to work without being bombarded and people following them,” he said. “And so, I just want people to respect the privacy my relatives in Taiwan. Hopefully, this will get back to everyone.”

Read more: http://aol.sportingnews.com/nba/story/2012-02-19/jeremy-lin-max-bretos-espn-fires-disciplines-employees-for-offensive-chink-in-th#ixzz1mt56RwIz

~Signing Off~
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Sacramento Kings’ Demarcus Cousins Demands Trade

After just one season in Sacramento, DeMarcus Cousins is seeking a trade.

VIA Associated Press/ESPN

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento Kings and DeMarcus Cousins abruptly began to sever ties Sunday after the team said the promising young center demanded a trade.

Adande: Grow Up, DeMarcus!

If a talented but immature DeMarcus Cousins somehow does put his act together, it’s likely to be on another team, writes ESPN.com’s J.A. Adande. Dime

Kings coach Paul Westphal released a statement before Sacramento hosted the New Orleans Hornets, criticizing Cousins’ commitment to the franchise and excusing him from the team’s game. He also confirmed that Cousins asked for a trade

“Whenever a new season begins, in any sport, there is great hope that everything will progress in only a steady, upward direction,” Westphal said. “As we all know, it seldom happens like that in this life! As coaches, we can only ask that our players do everything they can to improve themselves as individuals and teammates. If they do this with all their hearts, we live with the results.

“Everything that happens on a team does not become known to the public,” Westphal continued. “This is how it should be. However, when a player continually, aggressively, lets it be known that he is unwilling/unable to embrace traveling in the same direction as his team, it cannot be ignored indefinitely.

“DeMarcus Cousins has demanded to be traded. In the best interest of our team as we go forward, he has been directed by me, with the support of management, to stay home from the New Orleans game tonight.”

When reached by phone, Cousins’ agent, John Greig, said he wasn’t informed of the Kings’ decision until Westphal’s announcement. He declined comment when asked if Cousins requested a trade.

“I have no idea what the Kings are doing,” Greig said. “The fact that I’m just finding out about this announcement now speaks volumes about them.”

The Kings had been expecting big things from Cousins this season.

They had been optimistic that he would show improved maturity after a strong rookie campaign that also had its share of temper tantrums and blow-ups. While the comical Cousins off the court never disappeared, the team expected its up-and-coming big man would learn to control his emotions.

Sacramento drafted Cousins with the fifth overall pick in 2010 after he spent one season at Kentucky. The 21-year-old Cousins was averaging 13 points and 11 rebounds in 27 minutes per game this season.

Cousins’ behavior has been well documented going back to high school and his one season at Kentucky, mixing in dramatic and astonishing plays with outbursts against players, coaches, trainers and referees. His conditioning has been questioned and so has his work ethic, however, he showed up for training camp in prime condition and appeared ready for a breakout season.

Teamed with 2009-10 Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans, Cousins was expected to anchor the frontline for a young and emerging roster in the deep Western Conference. Sacramento finished 24-58 last season and missed the playoffs for the fifth straight year, although a late-season surge behind a healthy Evans provided hope that maybe the Kings aren’t that far off from making the postseason again.

~Signing Off~
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Adrian Peterson’s Sneaker Collection

ESPN did a little interview with Adrian Peterson talking about his sneaker and cleat addiction. He says that he uses a new pair of cleats for every game and has separate practice cleats as well. Also, at his home he has his sneaker collection, where he says he shows off a closet filled with sneakers and highlights his favorite…..an Adrian Peterson exclusive.

~Signing Off~
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